This is the 27th in the Stone Barrington series that started with New York Dead back in 1991. Lately Woods has been pumping them out and not all have been excellent. This one, however, is a real page turner with the Russian mob, the next generation, and a mysterious man on the run all playing parts. Stone even rides shotgun - literally! A really fun read.
Start with Italy, 1962: add a dash of love at first sight, wander between 1962 and present day Hollywood; and throw in the beautiful ruin, Richard Burton himself. Somehow it’s all about trying to find yourself and second chances. Funny, warm, and sad all at the same time.
Tales and insights from Gates' five years as Secretary of Defense in both the Bush and Obama administrations. He tried to restore some dignity to the devastated Dept. of Defense. Gates had a profound respect and love of our soldiers and appreciated the human cost of war. He describes Congress as truly ugly and suffering from a paralyzing polarization. He calls for restoring civility and mutual respect.
As Billy says "At sixty-five I can do whatever I did when I was thirty-five, if only I could remember what those things were!" This is really a laugh out loud memoir that all 60+ baby boomers can relate to. Nothing is off limits...impotency, insomnia, prostate trouble, senior moments. The second half of the book is less funny, but enjoyable as Billy retraces his time at SNL and trip to Russia and hosting the Oscars. All in all, a good read.
An entirely enjoyable and illuminating account of the marine shipping industry, presented as a log of the author's 9000 mile journey from England to Singapore on the container ship Maersk Kendal. George takes figurative detours along the way to talk about some interesting side subjects: shipwrecks and rescues, pirates, seafarers wellbeing, and animal life at sea. It is a world that affects everyone, since 90 percent of everything is shipped by sea. I learned that marine shipping produces far less CO2 per mile per ton than any other mode of transportation, but since maritime shipping is so pervasive, the sum total of its carbon emissions exceeds that of all aviation and road transport. Shipping is so inexpensive that Scots send their cod fish to China for fileting, and then ship it back for consumption. A great and informative read!
Amy Tan's epic novel of Shanghai courtesans, mothers, and daughters covers a time span from the turn of the 20th century to the beginnings of World War II. It has strong female characters who search for their identities in the most difficult circumstances. With the history of China playing at the edges of the story, the main character, Violet, reinvents herself several times as a daughter, a courtesan, a wife and a mother. She doesn't know how closely her journey echoes those of her mother and daughter. Warning: sex is treated openly and frankly. I am glad Amy Tan is back with this, her first novel in nine years.
Annie has been a devoted mother and wife for two decades before her world suddenly shatters. Her daughter leaves for study abroad before college and her emotionally distant and successful husband tells her he’s leaving her for a junior executive in his law firm. In desperation she retreats to her childhood home in Mystic, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula. Once there, she tries to help a childhood friend put his life back together after his wife’s death. As she lovingly cares for his traumatized 6 year old daughter and urges him to become sober, she transforms herself. When a series of events force her to return to her old life, she is a different person. An enjoyable coming of age novel for 40-somethings.
Retired and in his 60’s, Dave Barry is all grown up - well sort of. He’s survived two marriages, two kids, and a career as a humorist while living in Miami. The eighteen essays include tear-jerking, sentimental pieces like “Father of the Groom” and side-splittingly hilarious ones like “Tips for Visiting Miami (No. 1: Are You Insane?). There is also some levity about colon cancer and what it means to be a dad. One of his most enjoyable works.
This is a beautifully written story about how particular people experience love and loss. It consists of a series of first person narratives, with individual fictional characters talking to the author, Charles Baxter, as he prepares to write this book. It amazes me how Baxter gets into the heads of each of these characters, and presents them as likely, realistic people with whom the reader might empathize. There is the ditzy oversexed coffee shop clerk, whose loss you will feel deeply. There is the nominally Jewish philosophy professor who is estranged from his son. There is Bradley, a coffee shop owner and a sometime artist. Then there are the Bradley's various wives. Finally there is Bradley's dog - he doesn't talk to the author, but he is featured throughout the narratives. Highly recommended!
The birth of the United States was by no means a forgone conclusion in 1776. Ellis, the author of Founding Brothers, weaves together the complex forces in play in 1776. Many members of the Continental Congress were still hoping for reconciliation. The population was more loyal to their state than they were to a nebulous nation and quite a few people were staunch Loyalists. In the summer of 1776 with the most powerful country in the world sending the largest armada to fight the colonies a coalescence took place and the Continental Congress, the rag tag army under Washington, and the colonists finally embraced the concept of a United States.